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What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a serious medical complication during delivery, in which a baby’s head has passed through the birth canal but the shoulders are stuck behind the pubic bone. Shoulder dystocia can lead to serious problems for both mother and child if not addressed. Many doctors are unaware of how to properly respond to shoulder dystocia or else they know but panic.

At our law firm, we help families recover compensation when a birth injury occurs due to medical malpractice. A negligent doctor should be held accountable and pay compensation to cover future medical care and other losses.

Complications from Shoulder Dystocia

If medical staff respond quickly, then shoulder dystocia might not be a serious problem. There are many well-known maneuvers, such as McRoberts Maneuver and applying suprapubic pressure, which can release the child’s shoulder. If necessary, doctors might remove part of the mother’s public bone so the child can be delivered. However, if left untreated, shoulder dystocia can seriously damage a baby.

For example, some babies will suffer brain injury due to a lack of oxygen. Although the child’s shoulder is stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, the contractions do not stop. Instead, each contraction pushes the child against the bone, which can cut off blood and oxygen from the umbilical cord.

Babies often suffer the following complications:

  • Erb’s palsy, which is a nerve injury that can lead to paralysis of a child’s shoulders and upper arm.
  • Klumpke’s palsy, which is an injury to the lower nerves leading from the spinal cord. A child with this palsy can have paralyzed hands and forearms.
  • Developmental delays due to the death of brain tissue during delivery.

Mothers can also suffer injuries, including internal bleeding which, if left untreated, might be fatal.

Bringing a Lawsuit

If a doctor committed medical malpractice during delivery, then parents and children deserve compensation. A child suffering from an injury or developmental delays can require expensive physical therapy, prosthetics, and special education. Few parents are prepared to pay for all this care. A mother who suffered complications also could have incurred additional medical expenses which she should not have to pay.

Doctors and hospitals aggressively defend shoulder dystocia suits. They are not anxious to admit when an error has caused permanent injury to either the mother or child, so they will look for any opening to avoid legal accountability.

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP our Miami medical malpractice lawyers can hold a hospital or doctor accountable. Our attorneys will review the circumstances that led to delivery and whether a doctor used appropriate skill and care when responding to shoulder dystocia. Call 305-371-2692 to schedule a free consultation.